The Hold Up 6/1: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Ranking baseball's top setup options for the 2023 season.

Tier 2 is basically the shared closer role relievers who didn’t make the closers list. Adbert Alzolay and Hunter Harvey remain the best pitchers in their respective bullpens, and recently have seen some save opportunities. Alzolay isn’t missing bats at a huge rate (28.6% CSW) but he’s not allowing free bases (4% BB rate) and limiting hard contact. He’s basically doing what they had hoped/expected Michael Fulmer to do. Harvey on the other hand has had a bit of an issue with hard contact, but he has been able to manage a 31.7% K rate despite not having a true out pitch. He’s managed 5 SV+HLD’s since May 20th, and should be an option to take over the full time closer role in Washington once the team decides to move on from Kyle Finnegan.



  • Miguel Castro is also part of a closer committee, and while he has been very lucky this season, perhaps he may be this season’s Rafael Montero of sorts. I hate the 14.6% K-BB rate and just a 12.5% SwStr rate and the 4.01 xFIP isn’t ideal but he’s making it work for the most part with a 2.22 ERA and WHIP under 1.00. He’s been one of, if not the, best reliever in the game at limiting hard contact and missing barrels, so as long as he can keep that up, there’s no reason not to roster him.
  • Adam Ottavino continues to see occasional saves as well as hold chances, but the 4.23 ERA (backed by a 4.22 xFIP) keeps him out of the top 10 for now. He’s still struggling to get swings and misses (10.2% SwStr rate) but he has been getting plenty of called strikes, leading to a 32% CSW. What’s wild to me here, is we’ve all seen Ottavino’s sweeper, the pitch has been featured in our “Nastiest Pitches” segment for years now, but this season he only has a 13.9% Whiff rate with the pitch somehow. That’s one of the lowest in baseball for a breaking ball.


  • Joel Payamps continues to succeed with the Brewers and he’s a great example as to why throwing strikes and limiting walks can lead to good things. Payamps doesn’t do anything special. His 10.2% SwStr  and 26.6% CSW rates are really bad, but he only has walked 3.7% of batters so he’s able to sustain a 2.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. The Brewers trust him as a setup man now, leading to five holds since May 21st.
  • Phil Maton may only have 4 holds on the season, but 3 have come over the past two weeks and with others struggling in this bullpen, he should continue to see some high leverage work, especially with how dominant he has been this season. Despite averaging 89.5 MPH on his fastball, Maton is able to generate crazy spin rates on his pitches, leading to a 5.48 PLV on the season and he currently has a 28.4% K-BB rate.


  • Steven Okert was one of my favorite unheralded relievers heading into the season and, while an injury slowed his start, he’s back to dominating hitters again, with a 40.6% K rate over 17.1 innings this season so far. That will certainly come back down to earth over time, but he’s still a quality reliever who happens to have 3 holds over the past three weeks.
  • Ben Joyce is up with the Angels now and while everyone can get excited about him because he throws 100+ MPH, I think we should also remember that there’s a guy in St. Louis who also does. Jordan Hicks also has a longer track record and despite his injury and command concerns, they aren’t nearly as concerning as Joyce’s. Joyce does have a bit more swing and miss in him, but this is a guy who walked 13 batters over 15.2 IP at AA this season and has thrown a total of 82.2 innings in six years. Joyce has immense upside, but there’s a very low floor here as well.


  • With Brooks Raley back in the Mets bullpen, Drew Smith is likely to become more of an afterthought now, especially seeing how he’s allowed runs in his last four outings. With a 26.1% CSW and 12.5% BB rate, I’m out on Smith at the moment
  • The White Sox bullpen actually has a chance to be really strong with Liam Hendriks back in the mix now. Joe Kelly scuffled this past week but Reynaldo López has been pitching well again, and they are getting quality innings from Keynan Middleton as well. It will be interesting to see who gets the most hold chances between these three and Kendall Graveman, as each one has significant upside (outside of Graveman).


If you would like more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series.


Rank Pitcher Change
1Yennier CanoT1-
2Bryan Abreu-
3Giovanny Gallegos-
4Erik Swanson-
5Aroldis Chapman+1
6Héctor Neris+3
7Michael King
8Adbert Alzolay+5
9Hunter Harvey+9
10Brusdar Graterol+1
11Miguel Castro+8
12Adam Ottavino+5
13Gregory Soto
14Matt Brash-4
15Nick Anderson-1
16James Karinchak-4
17Trevor Stephan-2
18Caleb Ferguson-2
19Griffin Jax+2
20A.J. Minter+2
21Seranthony Domínguez+2
22Chris Martin
23Steven Wilson+2
24Brooks Raley+2
25Colin Holderman+6
26Tanner Scott+7
27Tommy Kahnle+UR
28Jason Foley+7
29Joel Payamps+11
30Kendall Graveman+UR
31Taylor Rogers
32Nick Martinez-3
33Sam Hentges-5
35Lucas Sims+1
36Phil Maton+12
37Ben Joyce+UR
38Jordan Hicks+14
39Joe Kelly-2
40Steven Okert+14
41Jorge López
42Josh Winckowski-
43Bryan Baker-5
44Brandon Hughes-5
45Carlos Hernández-1
47Reynaldo López+11
48Huascar Brazoban+9
49Brock Burke+6
50Drew Smith-23
51Scott McGough+9
52Alex Young+14
53Joe Jiménez-10
54Peter Strzelecki-8
55Carl Edwards Jr.+1
56Ron Marinaccio+6
58Jovani Moran+13
59Eli Morgan-10
60Wandy Peralta-15
61Justin Lawrence
62Austin Adams+1
63Collin McHugh-10
64Trevor Gott-
65Danny Coulombe-
66Jeremiah Estrada-16
67Connor Brogdon-8
68Chris Devenski+8
69Kutter Crawford+UR
70Andrew Nardi+UR
71Nate Pearson+16
72Yimi García+1
73Dauri Moreta-1
74Génesis Cabrera-
75Rafael Montero+3
76Tim Hill-1
77Tim Mayza-9
78Aaron Bummer+4
80Taylor Clarke+8
81Jonathan Hernández
82Michael Fulmer-21
83John Brebbia-16
84Josh Staumont-15
85Will Vest-
86Kyle Nelson-9
87Robert Stephenson-7
88Victor González-7
89Colin Poche-3
90Jake Bird-1
91Josh Sborz-1
92Garrett Crochet-9
93Gregory Santos-2
94José Leclerc-2
95Brock Stewart-2
96Ryne Stanek-1
97Albert Abreu-1
98Scott Alexander-
99Yency Almonte-
100Luke Jackson+UR

Rick Graham

Rick resides in the Boston area and has experience as a player and coach at the collegiate level. He has been covering relievers for Pitcher List since 2017.

6 responses to “The Hold Up 6/1: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. WesMan21 says:

    Thoughts on Nick Martinez moving forward? With SP eligibility I can slot him in most days. I know that Wilson has the most holds, but I feel like Martinez has the best stuff outside of Hader in the bullpen and can also vulture some wins.

    I’m trying to find any and all RP guys that have SP eligibility as well.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Yea he’s likely the best or one of the best options in that SP eligible reliever group, so I get rostering him for that reason. Now with Garcia down, he should see more holds chances I’d imagine.

  2. CPWino says:

    Are you mixing up Tyler and Taylor Rodgers in the rankings? Taylor is ranked 31 spots shead of his brother Tyler, yet Tyler has more holds and better stats than Taylor. Puzzling…

    • Rick Graham says:

      Nope, I typically don’t trust/value submariners because there is incredibly low upside with a low floor, although Tyler has increased his K rate this season to 21.8%. But over the past three seasons Taylor has been far and away the better pitcher of the two, and he just had a great May (0.96 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 13 K’s over 9.1 IP). I get Tyler was pretty good too, but just 10 K’s and a 1.03 WHIP (again not bad, but still prefer Taylor). The difference in holds should narrow as the season goes on, with Taylor being paid to set up games for Doval.

      • CPWino says:

        Good info – Thanks. I’ll keep my eye out to see if Taylor replaces Tyler as the set up man for the Giants.

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